Sans LeBron and Davis, Lakers trounce Celtics; Knicks extend streak

Agence France-Presse
Sans LeBron and Davis, Lakers trounce Celtics; Knicks extend streak
Austin Reaves of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball against Derrick White of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at the TD Garden on February 01, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Brian Fluharty / Getty Images / AFP

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Lakers team missing superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis barreled past the NBA-leading Boston Celtics, 114-105, on Thursday (Friday Manila time) as the New York Knicks pushed their winning streak to nine games with a gutsy win over Indiana.

Austin Reaves scored a season-high 32 points to lead six Los Angeles players in double figures, saying afterward he and the rest of the Lakers had taken to heart James' blunt demand after Tuesday's loss to Atlanta that his teammates "just go out and do your job."

"It's a great message," Reaves told broadcaster TNT. "And coming from the greatest player ever, in my opinion, that's what we should do."

The latest meeting between the storied rivals, who share the record for most NBA titles with 17 apiece, lost some luster when the Lakers ruled out James with a sore left ankle and Davis with hip spasms and an Achilles tendon injury.

In addition, the Lakers and Celtics are teams on different trajectories as the All-Star break approaches, with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics boasting the best record in the league while the Lakers, ninth in the West, have struggled to find consistency and had dropped two straight since a thrilling overtime triumph over the Golden State Warriors last Saturday.

So the crowd at Boston's TD Garden was stunned to near silence as the Lakers seized control in the second quarter, when Jayson Tatum's eight points were the only scoring from the Celtics' starters.

Boston, down 60-46 at halftime, cut a 16-point deficit to six in the third quarter, with Tatum's pull-up 3-pointer making it 77-71.

The Lakers had their lead back to seven heading into the final period.

D'Angelo Russell and Jaxson Hayes scored 16 points each for the Lakers, with Russell adding eight rebounds and 14 assists. Reaves made seven of the Lakers' 19 3-pointers.

Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points. Kristaps Porzingis and Sam Hauser had 17 points each but Jaylen Brown — named an All-Star reserve earlier Thursday — scored just eight.

"Just playing the game the right way and competing at 110%," Reaves said of the key to handing the Celtics what is only their third home defeat of the season. "When we do that, we've proven that we can beat anybody."

"We've just got to eliminate those games where we go out and kind of go through the motions. We've got to go out there and compete 110 percent every game and good things will happen."

Brunson fuels Knicks

In New York, Jalen Brunson celebrated his first All-Star selection with 40 points, draining the go-ahead basket with 1:46 to play in the Knicks' 109-105 triumph over the Pacers.

Brunson scored 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Knicks rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit.

The Knicks were up by six with less than five minutes to play, but the Pacers took a 100-99 lead with two minutes remaining on a dunk by Jalen Smith, who grabbed the loose ball after Brunson collided with Andrew Nembhard.

Brunson powered to the basket on the next possession, Donte DiVincenzo and Precious Achiuwa added baskets and the Knicks held on for the win.

"That was fun," Brunson told the crowd in an emotional on-court interview. "We kept fighting, man. No matter what we're going to keep fighting. That's what we do."

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